Dictionary.com LLC respects your privacy. When you use Dictionary.com, Reference.com, Thesaurus.com or any other online products or websites that we own (our "sites") and mobile applications (our "apps"), we collect information about you and use it to facilitate and improve our services. Information about you may also be shared with other companies. For instance, companies engaged in "targeted" or "behavioral" advertising present ads that might be of interest to you based on information about your online activities. We want to be clear about how information about you may be used and what your privacy options are.
Information we collect
Information collected automatically: When you visit our sites and use our apps, we automatically collect and store information about your computer or mobile device and your activities. This information includes:
- Your computer's IP address
- Technical information about your computer or mobile device (such as type of device, web browser or operating system)
- Your preferences and settings (time zone, language, etc.)
- Your mobile device's unique ID number
- Your mobile device's geographic location (specific geographic location if you've enabled collection of that information, or general geographic location automatically)
- The URL of the last web page you visited before coming to one of our sites
- The words you have looked up and results you selected
- The ads you clicked on
- How long you visited our sites or used our apps and which services and features you used
- For app users, the online or offline status of Your app
Information you choose to provide: You may choose to open an account and if you are age 13 or older, provide us with information in order to use certain services or products, like Dictionary.com Premium or Word Dynamo, or to take advantage of special offers, like a contest or a sweepstakes. This information may include your name, email address, phone number, credit card information (including billing address), and demographic information (age, gender, etc.). You may provide this information directly to us or you may choose to register using your Facebook account in which case you would authorize us to access certain Facebook profile information including your first name, last name, gender, birth date and email address. You may also choose to post content (such as custom flashcards) that you may share with others, through our site or through your Twitter or Facebook account. You do not have to provide any of this information to us. But if you do not provide certain information, you will not be able to use some of the services we offer. If you wish, we will delete your account information; to do so, please close your account at http://app.dictionary.com/users/cancelaccount.
How we use your information
We use your information to provide and improve our services, customize services for you (such as by remembering your preferences), make special offers (like sweepstakes), better understand our users, diagnose and fix problems, and sell and display ads that may be relevant to you. Email addresses, mobile phone numbers, and credit card information are used only for providing you the services you requested upon creating your account.
Email Address: We use your email address only to allow you to log in to your account, send you confirmations (of your registration, purchase, etc.), and to send you messages as part of our services. You may choose to stop receiving these emails by adjusting your email settings at http://app.dictionary.com/users/settings or by clicking on the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the email. For specific services, you can unsubscribe here: Word of the Day unsubscribe or Reference of the Day unsubscribe. We will also use your email address to respond to your customer service inquiries. If you are under the age of 13, certain messaging and site functionality may be non-existent or limited.
Phone Number: We use your mobile phone number only to send you SMS messages that you've requested. To stop receiving SMS messages, please text STOP to 44636.
Credit Card Information: We use your credit card information only to process your purchases and to detect and prevent fraud.
Use of your information by other companies
We share user information with other companies for various reasons. What information we make available to other companies depends on the nature of our relationships with them. We generally require these other companies to keep our users' information confidential.
Service Providers: We may share all of the types of information we collect with vendors who provide services (such as voice transcription, email and SMS messaging, and payment processing), conduct surveys, and run sweepstakes on our behalf.
Advertisers: Advertisers and advertising networks use tracking technologies to collect information about users' computers or mobile devices and their online activities (for example, web pages visited and searches made) as well as general geographic location and use that information to display targeted ads to users. We sometimes allow these ad companies to collect such information when you use our sites and apps to enable them to display targeted ads to you.
Analytics Companies: We allow analytics companies to use tracking technologies to collect information about our users' computers or mobile devices and their online activities. These companies analyze this information to help us understand how our sites and apps are being used. Certain versions of our App have an "Opt out of Tracking" setting, which permits you to opt out of being tracked by third party analytics companies.
What we don't share: We do not provide ad companies or analytics companies with your name, address, email address, phone number, or credit card information.
Aggregated Information: We may publicly disclose aggregated information about our users, such as the total number of our users and their overall demographics.
Legal Matters: We may disclose user information: in response to a legal request, such as a subpoena, court order, or government demand; to investigate or report illegal activity; or to enforce our rights or defend claims. We may also transfer your information to another company in connection with a corporate restructuring, such as a sale, merger or in the event of a bankruptcy proceeding.
We, as well as other companies, use tracking technologies to collect and store data about your computer or mobile device and your activities on our sites and apps.
Cookies: When you visit our sites, we place "cookies" (small text files) on your computer to recognize you. We do this to store your preferences and track your use of our sites. Ad companies place cookies on your computer to track your activities across various sites so that they can display targeted ads. Some ad companies and game developers use "flash cookies" for ads and games that use Flash media technology.
Many ad companies are members of the Network Advertising Initiative. NAI members allow users to opt out of being tracked by cookies. To opt out of cookie tracking by NAI members, you may visit http://www.networkadvertising.org/ and click on the "Consumer Opt-out" button. Companies may also be members of the Digital Advertising Alliance ("DAA") and to opt out of cookie tracking by DAA members, you may visit http://www.aboutads.info/choices/. Finally, to learn how to remove cookies, you may visit these links: deleting cookies and deleting flash cookies. By using our site and products, you give us explicit consent to place cookies and other tracking technology on your computer or mobile device.
Pixel tags: We embed pixel tags (also called web beacons or clear GIFs) on web pages, ads, and emails. These tiny, invisible graphics are used to access cookies and track user activities (such as how many times a page is viewed). We use pixel tags to measure the popularity of our features and services. Ad companies use pixel tags to measure the number of ads displayed and their performance (such as how many people clicked on an ad).
Mobile Device IDs: If you're using an app, we use mobile device IDs (the unique identifier assigned to a device by the manufacturer), instead of cookies, to recognize you. We do this to store your preferences and track your use of our apps. Unlike cookies, device IDs cannot be deleted. Ad companies use device IDs to track your use of the app, track the number of ads displayed, measure ad performance and display ads that are more relevant to you. Analytics companies use device IDs to track information about app usage.
Toolbars and Apps
If you download the Dictionary.com Toolbar, we will send non-personal information about your use of the Toolbar to Ask.com, which powers the Toolbar's web search features. For more information, please see our Toolbar license agreement, http://dictionary.reference.com/help/eula.html. If you install one of our apps on your mobile device, your use of the app is subject to our app license agreement, http://dictionary.reference.com/help/dictionaryappeula.html.
We do allow children under 13 to register for an account, but we do not knowingly collect any personally identifiable information from children under 13. Personally identifiable information, for example, includes a first and last name; a home or other physical address; an e-mail address; a telephone number; or a social security number.
When we have identified through our age-screening process that a child under 13 is trying to register an account with us, we immediately "hash" that user's e-mail into a nonreversible character string and discard the e-mail. Then the user's e-mail address is only used for "password recovery" purposes.
Generally speaking, one-way hashing is a way to anonymize or hide data by transforming pieces of information into fixed strings of alphanumeric characters.
For example, when the e-mail address 'U13user@dictionary.com' is hashed, the result or "hash value" might be 'a8der13ap69'. Every time that hash function is applied to that e-mail address the result will be the same. It is called one-way hashing because the function allows you to convert the data only one way. So while it is possible to convert an e-mail address into a hash value, it is not possible to convert that value back into the e-mail address.
When a child under the age of 13 registers for an account, we use hashing to create a password reminder system that does not require us to retain that child's email address. To do this, we apply the hash function to the email address and associate the resulting hash value (not the e-mail) with the user's account. The e-mail address is immediately discarded after the hash function is applied.
When the user forgets the password associated with the account, we request the original email address, hash it, and then compare the two hash values. If they match, we e-mail the password reminder to the user and then immediately discard the e-mail again.
Information from users outside the United States
YOUR CALIFORNIA PRIVACY RIGHTS (as provided by California Civil Code Section 1798.83)
A California resident who has provided personal information to a business with whom he/she has established a business relationship for personal, family, or household purposes ("California customer") is entitled to request information about whether the business has disclosed personal information to any third parties for the third parties' direct marketing purposes. In general, if the business has made such a disclosure of personal information, upon receipt of a request by a California customer, the business is required to provide a list of all third parties to whom personal information was disclosed in the preceding calendar year, as well as a list of the categories of personal information that were disclosed.